Advice for Parents Buying the PS4 at Christmas

As a parent, I know the struggle of trying to buy the perfect gift for your children. This guide will explain everything that you need to know before you purchase a PS4. There are currently two versions of the PS4 sold by Sony, though you may still find the original release date PS4 still floating around. I will go over each of the three versions, original PS4, PS4 Slim, and PS4 Pro, as well as some available bundles that you may find.

Design

The most straightforward difference to see between these consoles is the physical appearance. The original PS4 and the PS4 Slim have two layers, though the PS4 Slim is much smaller than its predecessor. The PS4 Pro adds a third layer to accommodate for its upgrades, making it much more massive than either the original PS4 and the PS4 Slim.

Both the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro retain Blu-Ray/DVD compatibility, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, but upgrade to a USB 3.1 instead of the 3.0 from the original PS4. However, the PS4 Pro’s third layer gives room for an extra USB compared to the original PS4 and PS4 Slim, giving it a total of three USB ports.

The extra port on the PS4 Pro makes an excellent pair for VR due to each PS Move controller requiring its own charging port. The PS4 Pro also comes with another upgrade design, in the form of HDMI 2.0 ports up from 1.4 making it compatible with newer 4k TVs. The other two PS4 models will still work on a 4k TV, though you will not be able to take advantage of the increased resolution.

Internals 

Though the externals of the PS4 systems do not vary much, the internals are leagues apart. The PS4 Pro is overclocked to 2.1GHz compared to the original PS4 and PS4 Slim at 1.6GHz though they share the same 8-core AMD Jaguar. The PS4 Pro also has an upgraded GPU with its 4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon (36CU, 911MHz) graphics card, double that of the original PS4 and PS4 Slim. Finally, where the other two PS4s contain 8GB GDDR5 of RAM, the PS4 Pro has an extra 1GB RAM that is used strictly for background processes leaving the additional 8GB solely for your gaming needs. The final component difference is in the storage capacity of the systems. The original PS4 comes with a 500GB hard drive, the PS4 Slim comes in either 500GB or 1TB hard drive, and the PS4 Pro only comes with the 1 TB hard drive. The hard drives for any of the systems can be traded out for larger by the user.

What this means for a parent is that both the original PS4 and the PS4 Slim are almost identical on the inside, where the PS4 is a significant upgrade. The PS4 Pro is twice as fast as the other two and is compatible with 4k TVs. It must be noted, however, that even though the PS4 Pro can process 4k resolution, the Blu-Ray drive is only capable of 1080p. What that means is, any disc that is inserted into the PS4 Pro is limited to just 1080p resolution. So for your 4k needs, you will need to stream or download shows, movies, or games.

VR Support 

The PS4 Pro offers an increase in VR capability compared to the PS4 Slim and its predecessor. Though, during recent tests, the growth has been slight making it not worth considering in your choice. I will note, however, that with developers diving more and more into VR capabilities, the PS4 Pro has the potential to shadow the PS4 Slim giving increased resolution during VR gameplay.

Cost 

Original PS4 - $299

PS4 Slim - $299

PS4 Pro - $399

Bundles

When purchasing a PS4, one of the easiest ways to save some money is through bundles. Most of the favourite games that your children are interested in will have a bundle associated with them. Here are a few that I found that are well worth it - if you aren't from the US, then click here to see the relevant bundles in your country. Here are popular selections:

This bundle is great for a couple of reasons. First, and the obvious one, is that it comes with the anticipated game, Star Wars: Battlefront II. The second is that this is the 1TB version of the console, where the price reflects the 500GB version.

This bundle is a great deal for any Call of Duty fan. Not only does this bundle come with a free game and the upgraded 1TB hard drive, but it is also customized in appearance for Call of Duty fans. The controller, as well as the system itself, are of a custom design.

Even though you are not saving as much with this bundle, it is still a great deal. The complete PS4 Pro system is customized and comes with the anticipated game, Star Wars: Battlefront II.

Like the previous bundle, this comes with a customized PS4 Pro system as well as one of the most popular games out right now, Destiny 2.

Bottom Line 

When considering which console to purchase for the holidays, many things have to go into consideration, and some can be as small as available space to place the console. When it comes to the original PS4 and the PS4 Slim, the PS4 Slim is the obvious choice. However, when it comes to comparing the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro, it comes down to preference and cost. If you are on a budget, then the PS4 Slim is right for you. If the price is not a factor, the PS4 Pro is almost a whole generation ahead of the Slim and will have a much smoother gameplay and higher resolution.

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